Week 15 Networks of Personalized Learning

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Week 15. (April 23rd) Networks of Personalized Learning (e.g., language learning, tutoring, etc.)

  1. Audrey Williams June (2010, April 4). Some Papers Are Uploaded to Bangalore to Be Graded, Chronicle of Higher Education. http://chronicle.com/article/Outsourced-Grading-With/64954
  2. Steve Lohr. “Hello India? I Need Help with My Math,” New York Times (October 31, 2007), http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/31/business/worldbusiness/31butler.html?pagewanted=print
  3. Jon Swartz (2009, October 15). For social networks, it’s game on. USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/gaming/2009-10-15-games-hit-social-networks_N.htm
  4. Anne Eisenberg. “Learning from a Native Speaker, Without Leaving Home,” New York Times (February 17, 2008), http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/17/business/17novel.html

source:  http://www.safehaven.com/article/5997/outsourcing-homework

Wow the first article I read was about outsourcing a TA’s responsibility of giving each student feedback on their writing.  This is a clever idea, especially if it is affordable.    Instructors cannot do an effective job alone.  They need support so they can focus on the important things and not so much on the tedious work.

I think it is great that services can be provided by people from India or anywhere for that matter.  We need to open up the world and learn from each other.

I think it would be amazing if every student could have his or her own personal tutor.  Imagine the possibilities if each student’s skills could be analyzed by a tutor.  Personalized plans could be made, goals could be made and achieved.  I actually wouldn’t mind if our culture was more like the Asian culture in that our children were tutored after school.  It’s interesting that we admire them for their basic knowledge and  they admire us for our creativity. Working with a tutor after school, even for a little bit, could be extremely beneficial.  Older students could even tutor younger students.  I suppose this isn’t going to happen unless tutoring is affordable and becomes the norm.

It seems to me that if students were watched more closely by tutors, then concepts would not be misunderstood and most importantly, the students would not need remediation.  With all of the resources we have, I don’t understand why we still rely on one teacher to track a classroom-full of students.  How can teachers possibly track each students’ individual progress?  They can’t.  So what happens in traditional schools is either the students are passed on without understanding or they continue to struggle with basic concepts because no one noticed.  If it was noticed immediately, feedback was given, and the student had the opportunity to refocus, then I think teaching and learning might actually be effective.

One summer I took an Orton-Gillingham course.  We (teachers) brought in students so that we could practice using the program and at the same time help the students with their reading, spelling and writing skills.  The program boasted that reading levels would increase instantly.  I was skeptical as first.  But when I tutored the student I saw it happen right before my eyes.  The trick is simple but effective.  You first give the student a pre-test to assess what he knows and doesn’t know.  With this specific information, you design your instruction.  At this time, the student learns from his mistake and reinforces the skill correctly  during the instruction.  When the student takes the post-test, he naturally improves considerably.  The difference between a teacher and a tutor is the time to personalize instruction.  A tutor can patiently work with the student to diagnose the problems he or she is having, design appropriate instruction, and then reassess.  When I taught K/1, I tried to work with students individually during my lunch break and recess, but I never had enough time.  This is an important issue we need to deal with.  Students fall through the cracks because we don’t catch the small things in the beginning.  Its really a shame that we allow this to happen.

I would actually like a personal tutor for myself 🙂

The most effective language programs are the ones that allow the learner to practice speaking the language and get feedback from either a live person or a language system.  My experience has found that reading and completing exercises in a book are the least helpful for learning how to speak a new language.

If we could develop educational apps that are social and as addicting as Farmville, then I think the students might learn something.  I have stayed away from trying Farmville because I have seen how everyone else gets addicted to it.  Its actually annoying that people post their progress on Facebook all the time.  Nevertheless, if educational games could be addicting, then school might actually be fun.

One problem with these apps is that the novelty wears off.  After awhile the game becomes work or a chore or boring so it is not fun to play anymore.  Therefore, variety is good.

This is my final post for this class.  I have learned a lot from blogging.  It has forced me to really think about what I think on particularly topics.  It has also given me an opportunity to practice my writing and learn about web 2.0 technologies.

Tschuss!  Adios!  Au revoir!


Week 14 Educational Blogging, Podcasting, and Coursecasting

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Week 14. (April 16th) Educational Blogging, Podcasting, and Coursecasting

1).  Wolfgang Reinhardt, Martin Ebner, Günter Beham, & Cristina Costa (2009, March). How People are using Twitter during Conferences. http://lamp.tu-graz.ac.at/~i203/ebner/publication/09_edumedia.pdf

2).  Lenhart, Amanda, & Fox, Susannah (2006, July 19). Bloggers: Portrait of America’s new storytellers. Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Report. Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from: http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media/ 



3). Kang, I., Bonk, C. J., & Kim, M-C (2011). A case study of blog-based learning in Korea: Technology becomes pedagogy. The Internet and Higher Education14(4), 227-235. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.iheduc.2011.05.002

 4). Jaz Hee-jeong Choi. (2006). “Living in Cyworld: Contextualising Cy-ties in South Korea,” in Uses of Blogs, eds. Axel Bruns & Joanne Jacobs (New York: Peter Lang. 2006), 173-186, http://trainingshare.com/pdfs/jaz_c_cyworld_ch.pdf

source:  http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/o/online_blog.asp

The first article I read reminded me of a womens’ computer science conference I attended a couple of years ago.  Intellagirl was one of the guest speakers.  She demonstrated how Twitter could be used during the conference.  If anyone had questions or comments, they could post to a live feed that was displayed on the screen on the stage.  Throughout the conference she read the posts and would respond to them  throughout the conference.

Like wikis, I think blogs are a great opportunity for students to practice writing.  The other students can read what they write and give them feedback.  The best way for students to get comfortable with writing and become great writers, is to have lots of practice.  Blogs can be accessed by the teacher and all of the students at school or at home.  Furthermore, comments from readers can push the writers to further explore their thinking and understanding.

In flipped classrooms, blogs can be written to document students initial reactions to recorded lectures, videos and other content.  They can also document questions they might have.

Social media tools such as blogs, Twitter, and Facebook are giving students more opportunities to read, spell, and write, than ever before.

The article mentioned other microblog tools, besides Twitter, that I have never heard of:  Plurk, Jaiku, and Open Source Tool Identica.  Why is Twitter so popular?  Is it because the founder advertises it commercially?  Where are the other blogs from?  Who uses them?  How do people decide which one to use? By age? Occupation? Popularity? Convenience and ease of use?  How do people find out about these tools?  By looking for them? Do they just stumble across them or read/hear about them in other sources?

I wonder if students are more interested in writing a blog than an “essay”?  Does technology excite and motivate the students to write or do they look at it as writing another boring essay?

Just the other night I was having dinner with friends and Twitter became the subject.  I asked them how Twitter worked because I honestly don’t use it.  I use Facebook, although it is getting boring.  It was explained that Twitter allows you to post to everyone in the world.  You don’t have to ask to be anyone’s friend.  You then add people to your list to follow them.  The guest said the problem is, if you add too many followers, then it is overwhelming and nearly impossible to keep up with all the postings.  I wonder if there is a way to make this more efficient?  Is it possible to keep up with the world without reading every single person’s post?  In the past, the news did this for us.  But soon they will be “old news” because the people are doing a better job posting the reality, unbiased and uncensored.

I was surprised that the PEW study found that only 1% of bloggers blog about health problems and illnesses.  It seems to me that it would be common for people to write about their symptoms and their situation.  I would think that blogging about it would even be healing, like therapy.  The study did find that the majority of bloggers are young, less than 30, so perhaps this explains it.  Young people are generally healthy.

I wonder who reads all these blogs?  Are they read?  Do people write them because they assume others will read their blog?  Do they care?  What do authors do? Do they blog?  If they blog, how do they still have material to write books?  What are bloggers intentions?  Do they have hidden agendas?  The PEW study discovered that one of the primary reasons people blog is to share their personal experiences.

Actually, an assignment for this class is to blog and the purpose is to reflect on the articles I read.  I have found a few interesting things about blogging.  First, I’m never quite sure who my audience is.  I know that blogs are generally informal, so I know that my writing will be different from an essay.  Most of the time, my writing seems to be in the form of a diary because I am sharing my personal thoughts, feelings, and reactions.  Sometimes when I write I wonder if I should write this for the professor, my classmates, or for the other people on the Internet.  I also wonder if I should keep this blog posted after the course is over.  Do I want family members and close friends to read what I have written today? twenty years from now?  Do I want my personal thoughts to be subject to criticism by others?  Do want employers and co-workers to read my blogs?  I am not sure how I feel about publicly divulging my opinion.  Some people love to share.  Some people don’t.  I’m on the fence.

I like the statement by Downes that says Web 2.0 is an attitude, not a technology.

Week 13 Mobile, Wireless, and Ubiquitous Learning

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

April 9, 2012 Mobile, Wireless, and Ubiquitous Learning

Articles I Read:

1.  Traxlar, John (2007, June). Defining, discussing and evaluating mobile learning: The moving finger writes and having writ…. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. 8(1). Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/346/875

2.   Carlo Ricci, Canada (2011, November). Emergent, self-directed, and self-organized learning: Literacy, numeracy, and the iPod Touch. International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL), 12(7). http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1157/2046

3.  Paul Kim, Stanford University. (2011).   PDF of “SMILE” Technical Description.  Retreived on April 24, 2012, from https://resources.oncourse.iu.edu/access/content/group/SP12-BL-EDUC-R685-24955/SMILE_Technical_Description.pdf

4.  Harmeet Shaah Singh, CNN (2010).  India unveils $35 computer for students.  Retrieved on April 24, 2012, from http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/07/23/india.thirty.five.dollar.laptop/index.html?npt=NP1&hpt=Sbin

source:  http://www.offthemark.com/cartoons/mobile+devices/

In the first article, the writer says, “Finding information rather than possessing it or knowing it becomes the defining characteristic of learning generally and of mobile learning especially, and this may take learning back into the community.”  I find this statement especially intriguing.  I have read in other articles that it is more important for students to know how to find information, instead of memorizing it.  I too, believe that this is more important.  Of course, there are some things that just have to be memorized, like the times tables.  But since science and history, for example, are always changing, it is better for the students to know where to find up-to-date information and where they can find different types of resources.  Mobile devices provide students with the opportunity to access the information quickly, any time the need arises.  My iPhone, iPad, and MAC laptop have given me instant access to anything I need.  I used to be stuck in my office attached to my desktop, but now that I have mobile devices, I can continue to work anywhere, no matter what my schedule is.  If I’m in the car, as a passenger, of course, I use my iPhone.  If I’m at school, I use my laptop.  If I’m at home, I read with my iPad and work with my laptop.  I can work at soccer practice.  I can check emails while waiting in the line at the grocery.  It’s great because I never feel guilty for being away from my work.  That may be a problem too because I do feel guilty that my mobile devices get more love from me than my friends and family 😦 Before my Apple devices came into my life, books were my favorite mobile technology.  I especially love my iPad because I can catch up on TV episodes (a rare treat) that are available when I need them.  I can watch the episodes while I’m putting laundry away, I can look up recipes  while I’m cooking in the kitchen, I can read anywhere I want, I can attend online classes no matter where I am, and I can toss it in my purse and take it with me without the burden of lugging a big heavy bag.

Mobile devices are not a technology fad.  They add value to our lives.

In my K/1 classroom, I used a PDA to assess the students reading and math fluency.  The PDA had strengths and weaknesses.


1.  It documented test results quickly, efficiently, and accurately.  These could be shared digitally, or I could print them out for parents.

2.  It was portable, so I could go in the hallway, where it was quiet, to assess the students.

3.  The DIBELS program generated charts and graphs using the student data.  This allowed me to quickly see who was on, below, or above the target.

4.  The results were available to me at school, at home, or anywhere I may be.


1.  The PDA needed to be charged frequently.  If I forgot to charge it (I’m not perfect you know) then I couldn’t use it when I needed it.

2.  The PDA was so sensitive that one wrong tap would cause the whole assessment to be compromised.  The tests were timed so if the teacher did not tap in the right spot at the right time, then the student’s data would be inaccurate.

3.  The PDAs were shared in our hallway, so they got a lot of use.  After time, the PDA did not respond correctly, no matter where you tapped.  Even worse, the program would crash and precious data would be lost.

4.  If you lose or break the stylus, or the PDA, you’re out of luck.

A great benefit of mobile technology is instant gratification.  If I need to know what something is or how to do something, I don’t have to wait.  I can get my answer right now.  Better yet, I can get a variety of answers from experts and from the community.  Even better, most of the information is free!

In my future classroom, I imagine all of the students with mobile devices to use both at home and school.  I imagine students playing apps that relate to what they are learning in the classroom because they are fun and they want to improve their skills.  I imagine a space, such as a learning management system, that holds everything the student or parent needs.  This space would have homework assignments, newsletters, assessment data, achievement goals, games, and a space for students and teachers to interact either synchronously or asynchronously, a space to share…anything, and a space for students to express themselves.  This space would be a documented portfolio space that students could revisit anytime they wanted.  Questions could be asked and answered by students or the teacher.

The iPod article by Carlo Ricci reminded me of another benefit of mobile devices- they have everything in one device!

This is especially beneficial for teachers because (1) purchasing a class set of anything is expensive, and difficult to store and replace, (2) it is convenient and accessible for learning that needs to happen right now.

I appreciate the natural learning concept that Carlo Ricci mentions in the article. As the student uses the device, he naturally discovers new things.  This creates tension because he wants to know what it is and how to use it (motivation to learn).

The clock example in the article reminded me of the little plastic and paper clocks I used in my K/1 classroom.  The hands would never stay put.  As I explained the difference between the hour and minute hands, I walked around and asked each student to explain the difference to their partner.  We also used the wall clock to review the time.  However, some of the students couldn’t see it well and it was difficult for me to point to the numbers unless I used a really long pointer.

If each student had iPod with an educational clock app, they could get instant feedback as much as often as necessary.  The app could reinforce the skills more times than a single teacher ever could.  Also, the iPod could be pulled out and personally used by each student whenever he needed the information, not just when the teacher asked him the question.  Sigh.  Would have been nice to have this access then.  This excites me to use them with my students in the future!

Carlo Ricci continued to point out such simple features such as the alarm clock and the weather app.  I suppose I have taken my kid’s iPhone Touches and iPhones for granted.  Instead of asking me for the answers all the time, I can tell them to look it up on their mobile device.  If I told them to go look up the weather forecast on the weather channel of the TV or in the newspaper they probably wouldn’t do it.  But since their iPhones are magically and magnetically attracted/attached to them, they probably wouldn’t mind looking it up there.  How convenient.

I love the idea of the Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment (SMILE) program.  The students create their own questions for a quiz.  When I was a student-teacher in a fourth grade classroom, I had the students write their own questions for a social studies test.  They really enjoyed doing this and they also loved that their name were posted next to the question they wrote.  A mobile device would make this task easy to do.  I can remember that it took quite a bit of time for the students to write the questions, time for me to edit the questions, and time for me to write the test.  It’s really cool that the students can upload their own pictures.  They are creating their own content!  This has to be more motivating than a boring teacher-created assessment!

I am amazed that computers can be offered for $35.00 apiece!   I am of course skeptical because if they are like most toys, they aren’t used for very long.  Usually, they break, they get lost, they don’t perform as you expect them to, they get boring, or something new and improved comes out.  The article mentioned that they have a browser and a pdf reader but did not mention any other applications.  It is certainly better than nothing, but I am still curious about how useful they will be in the long run.

I predict that mobile learning devices will get even better in the future.

Week 12 Alternate Reality Learning: Massive Gaming, Virtual Reality, and Simulations

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

April 2, 2012 Alternate Reality Learning: Massive Gaming, Virtual Reality, and Simulations

Articles I Read:

  1. Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown (2009, January). Why Virtual Worlds Matter. International Journal of Media and Learning, Vol. 1(1). http://www.johnseelybrown.com/needvirtualworlds.pdf
  1. Squire, Kurt. (2008). Open-Ended Video Games: A Model for Developing Learning for the Interactive Age. The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning. Edited by Katie Salen. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008. 167–198. Retrieved on June 25, 2010,  from http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/dmal.9780262693646.167 (other chapters from this book: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/toc/dmal/-/3?cookieSet=1)
  1. Bonnie A. Nardi, Stella Ly, & Justin Harris (2007). Learning conversations in World of Warcraft. forthcoming in Proc. HICSS 2007. Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://darrouzet-nardi.net/bonnie/pdf/Nardi-HICSS.pdf
  1. Sara de Freitas (2007). Learning in Immersive worlds a review of game-based learning. JISC. Retrieved August 17, 2008, from http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/programmes/                                                                                                                       elearninginnovation/gamingreport_v3.pdf

source:  http://www.howtogeek.com/69283/geek-comic-for-august-17th-gaming-no-matter-what/

I love games.  Any kind of games.  Board games.  Video games.  Group games.  Puzzles.  You name it.  Why?  Some are interactive and social.  So the time is occupied with something fun and challenging with people you like.  I can escape reality by playing a game.  Some games are fantasy, which makes them more fun than life when life is boring or even stressful.  Games allow me to participate IN the fantasy as opposed to only reading about it in a book or watch it on TV.  Games challenge the mind and make you smarter.  Games are competitive yet it’s ok if you don’t win; you are allowed to make mistakes and try again.  You feel safe and actually want to try again until you get it right.

Of course games are addictive too.  When I discover a new game that I love, it’s hard to get back to the real world.  I think to myself, just one more game.  I almost have it…  I understand why people get addicted to videos games.  Game addicts are no different from TV-watching couch potatoes or bibliophiles, like me.  I grew up playing video games where only one person could play at a time.  The games might have had a two player option, but you still had to play one person at a time.  Today, many of the video games are created so that everyone can play at the same time no matter your location.  When I played as a child, I could share my scores, tips and tricks with others but I could not actually learn from them by playing with them.  Today’s gaming experience must provide a richer experience for the users than I ever experienced.

One of my younger brothers is in his mid-twenties and LOVES online video games.  His friends come over and they play for hours and into the late night.  He sometimes wears the headset and talks to the other players.  It was cute when he was a teenager, but I thought he would have given the games up by now.  I guess games keep people young because they make you feel like a kid no matter how old you are.  (I’m not sure when he plans to move out of mom and dad’s house.  Maybe when he grows up 😉 )

I have played a few online games such as DrawSomething or Words with Friends, but I have never played the online games on the Xbox or the Wii.  I think if I was a kid, I would probably try it.  It seems like it would be fun to play with your friends online.  My kids play those games online with others.  However, many of the games they play seem too mature or even violent.  My stepson knows to turn the volume down on one of the war games he plays because sometimes there is inappropriate language.

I think the virtual worlds like Second Life have a lot of potential.  I don’t know a lot about what is out there already, but here is something I would like to play personally.  I think it would be neat if virtual worlds were created for real places, like Vienna, Austria, for example.  I will be traveling there soon, so it would be beneficial for me to preview what Vienna is like before I go.  In this world I could talk to others and learn the German language.  I could visit the shops and see what kinds of foods they eat.  I could learn about the plants and animals just by looking around me.  Even better, an augmented reality virtual world would give me a quasi-authentic experience.  I could walk down the actual streets and see what it’s like before I go.  I know that Google Earth has these features.  Perhaps there are worlds like this out there already.  If the game was interactive, I think it would be more fun than reading about it in a book or watching a video about it.  In addition, I see many possibilities with science.  If I were given the challenge to do something, like mix chemicals or identify a species, then it seems like this would make learning more fun because it is a hands-on experience.

I am surprised that educational games have not advanced as much as the games for entertainment have.  I realize that if the games are too educational, then they aren’t fun anymore.  Other articles I have read have said that there has been a prediction for a long time that games would be a hit in education but then it never happens.  I wonder why.

In a sense, the online gaming culture has created its own sport.  They are members of a team who are skilled and passionate with a common goal to problem solve and win.  Really, it’s a shame that they are the ones considered as “nerds and geeks” compared to the idolized gods on the basketball and football fields.  Ahem.

My kindergarten and first grade students loved computer games, particularly the students with special needs, such as students with ADHD.  I offered many game experiences in my work stations.  When I taught K/1, I provided many technologies for students to play games with.  I had two computers, a cd player and headset, a portable dvd player, teacher-made and store bought games, manipulatives, and games that gave feedback such as special pens with buzzers.  I found that music, singing, drama, video and games made learning much more engaging.  Today, teachers have much more than that.  Now they have Smartboards, document cameras, laptops, iPads, iPods, and many other tools to engage students.

In the first article I read, it made a very important point.  It points out that the participants are taught nothing but learn as they go.  This is related to the difference between direct instruction and discovery learning.  Direct instruction gets the job done in a boring way that results in surface learning outcomes.  Discovery learning challenges learners, which is motivating and engaging and results in deeper learning.  How can we create games for students that are more like discovery learning but still teach them the basic skills?

Thomas and Brown noted,”Some guilds may be small in size and primarily social in nature, while others are large and may require players to commit as much as 40 hours a week to the guild for high end raiding” (11).  That seems a bit unnecessary and seems to encourage addiction right there.  Forty hours per week, doesn’t that amount to a full time job?  Here is another quote from the third article: “Both require over one hundred hours for anything close to “completion.”  Can you imagine if we could get that persistence and dedication from our students?

I really like the system the Salman Kahn developed.  In a way, it is like a game.  The system tracks and documents all the data for each student.  When a student completes a section, they receive a badge.  The badges become collectables just like collector cards or figurines.  This motivates the students to learn because the challenge is to acquire the novelties, not the knowledge.  If you tell them to collect knowledge, they are bored.  But if you tell them to collect trivial items, they are engaged.  But what is it that attracts the adult gamers?  Surely they are not after tokens, points, and trinkets that the children like so much.

In the third article, the theme, identity, emerges.  Games, books, and television give participants opportunities to try different identities without the risks, such as permanence, rejection and failure.  Participants can imagine and be someone else, temporarily.  They can be super humans.  (This is something I strive to be everyday.  I’m actually considering checking out the mobile Quantified Self devices and becoming a super human someday.  Ha.)  This is the definition of play.  Children learn through play.  Adults play to feel young again. More importantly, participants do not suffer irreversible consequences.  If the game is over, they just start over. Participants can virtually see what it’s like to be someone else or participate in even dangerous activities.  Like rebels without a conscious, participants can do things that they would never dream of doing in the real world.

Along the same lines, games allow participants to succeed ,  be a hero, and accomplish complex tasks from start to finish.

Another subtle theme I found in reading the articles is adventure. Generally, when one plays a game they feel excited because they do not know what is going to happen next.  The next event could be something really wonderful or something devastating.  Nevertheless, as in a good  action movie, the participant is sitting on the edge of his seat.  How can we bottle this and excite out students?

In the third article, one of the study’s key questions was:   “Can quasi-fictional contexts relating to one’s physical place create the kind of engagement one finds in fictional games?”  It seems to me that the participant has to be somewhat interested or curious in the context of the game.  If this R685 course was designed in the context of soldiers blowing up stuff, I would have to say that I would pass.  Many boys and some girls are attracted to violent  games that blow things up, but it is not for me.  My point is that no matter how authentic, creative, or fun the game is, the participant must be at least a bit interested in participating in that context.  Hmm, that forces me to question what would be an interesting context for me then?  If I could design this course using a virtual world, the context would be similar to the world of Harry Potter or Indiana Jones.  Something adventurous.

This article also focuses on the Grand Theft video games.  I can’t stand those games.  When I taught in the inner city I had kindergarteners and first graders come in talking about how they played those games with friends and family members.  Of course their eyes lit up when I disapproved.  I suppose these games are attractive because they are rebellious and go against society’s standards.  I can imagine they give the gamers a thrill, a laugh, and reasons to brag.  I was really disgusted with the comments in the article about how the games blatantly disrespect other cultures and promote gangs.  I realize these things exist in our world, but I don’t believe in promoting it to our children.  Its obvious that the explicit or mature label doesn’t prevent young children from playing or watching others play these games.  The video games are all in the same aisle in the stores.  But they sure sell, don’t they?

Books, television, movies, music and video games have all sparked controversy at some point.  Here is another interesting finding in the study:

These same kids were very uninterested in talking about violence in the game. They perceived game violence as unrealistic, at

least compared to the violence they experience in their neighborhoods. As one said, “Stuff like that happens, you know. The

game isn’t going to make you do anything like that.”

My opinion is that no, media will not directly cause a person to commit crimes; however, they do put ideas in their heads.  I don’t need research to tell me that it is bad for children to be exposed to these video games.

The fourth article/report, made an obvious but still curious observation.  The report begins with the following trend:   the baby boomers grew up staring at the screen (television), the gen-Xers grew up with controlling the screen (computer).  I would like to add to this trend.  Today, the millennials do not stare or control the screen.  They are in control with what goes on the screen.  This is an exciting revelation to me because I wonder what comes next?  A black out?  Ha. Once the users are in control of creating and participating, what is left?  What will the next disruptive shift be?

I wonder if anyone out there has created a game-based curriculum or even a game-based school?  With the wireless technology and the active video game systems such as the Kinect and the Wii, I wouldn’t be surprised if it has crossed someone’s mind.  I wouldn’t suggest students sitting and playing games all day long, but I can visualize a program that utilizes some games.  Of course this school wouldn’t be for all learners.  It would only be for the serious geeks 🙂  Someone google that for me and get back to me.  If I didn’t have so many assignments due within the next week, I would go look myself.  Or I might escape and play a game.  Now back to work.  Hmm…so distracted…wondering if there is a game-based educational technology master’s program out there…

Sorry to disappoint you, but due to time constraints, the German section and the Adobe Premiere Elements section are discontinued from here on out.

Week 11 Interactive and Collaborative Learning

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

 March 26th, 2012   Interactive and Collaborative Learning

Articles I Read:

  1. Chen, P., R. Gonyea, and G. Kuh (2008). Learning at a distance: Engaged or not?. Innovate 4 (3). Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://www.innovateonline.info/pdf/vol4_issue3/Learning_at_a_Distance-__Engaged_or_Not_.pdf
  2. Lee, S. H., Magjuka, R. J., Liu, X., Bonk, C. J. (2006, June). Interactive technologies for effective collaborative learning. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning. See http://www.itdl.org/Journal/Jun_06/article02.htm
  3. Su, B., Bonk, C. J., Magjuka, R., Liu, X., Lee, S. H. (2005, summer). The importance of interaction in web-based education: A program-level case study of online MBA courses. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 4(1). http://www.ncolr.org/jiol/issues/pdf/4.1.1.pdf and http://www.ncolr.org/jiol/issues/viewarticle.cfm?volID=4&IssueID=14&ArticleID=2
  4. Lee, M. & Hutton, D. (2007, August). Using interactive videoconferencing technology for global awareness: The case of ISIS.  International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 4(8). Available: http://www.itdl.org/Journal/Aug_07/article01.htm

source:  http://www.semanticmetadata.net/category/comic/

I read four articles this week that all relate to some form of interaction with others online or through video conferencing.  The topic of interacting with others virtually is interesting to me because I have read studies and I have experienced online interaction myself.    After  reading the studies I have concluded that the level of satisfaction and learning outcome depends on the learner’s willingness and motivation to learn and engage and the learner’s academic ability coupled with the instructor’s design of the course.  The studies I have read  have shown that the younger generation is more likely to actively participate in online interactions; however, the older generation is more likely to benefit from deep learning.  It seems to me that perhaps the older generation benefits from distance learning because they are persistent in making meaning of the content which can then be transferred to practice.  The younger generation seems to enjoy being social and discussing online, yet is not inspired to work independently to learn the content more deeply .

The article, Learning at a distance, begins with questioning the quality of online learning.  Though I have not researched this extensively, my current view of online learning is that it cannot be a one-size-fits-all solution nor can it replace F2F instruction.  I think it can be beneficial for learners who cannot otherwise attend a F2F class, learners who prefer to learn online, learners who have the ability to to be in control of their own learning and learners who do not require the physical presence of the instructor in order to be motivated to stay on task and persist.  I am afraid that learners who do not meet these requirements might have a poor experience and blame the instructor for their own inadequacies.

Just as it is the responsibility of the learner to ensure he or she meets the above requirements, it is also the responsibility of the instructor to offer opportunities of engagement and interaction for the learners.  In my own experience, I have noticed that some strategies are more effective than others, depending on the topic.  The instructor should survey the learners to get honest feedback on whether the learners are benefiting from the strategies used.  There are many different collaborative strategies available, thus, the instructor should not rely on the same one for everything.  Variety is always appreciated.  Moreover, the instructor needs to consistently give feedback so that the learner knows that he or she is on the right track.

I am curious about the learners of online degree programs.  What is their experience?  Are their characteristics similar or different to the characteristics mentioned above?  Is it accurate to say that if learners have opportunities to interact with colleagues  F2F in their working environment , then that need is satisfied and therefore, abundant collaborative opportunities in online courses are not as important as they would be in say, an undergraduate program where the students do not have work experience?

The article ends with lingering questions.  This article has highlighted the importance of considering the diversity of learners and the need to use multiple collaborative strategies to ensure learner engagement.

The next article I read, Interactive technologies for effective collaborative learning, discussed the advantages and disadvantages of team collaboration online.  My experience has led me to believe that a blended approach is best.  Everyone has busy lives and strives to use their time efficiently.  There have been times that a F2F team collaboration wasted time because so much discussion would not reach a consensus and nothing was ever accomplished.  Thus, working collaboratively online was a better option.  Each team member could work on the project when it was convenient for them and decisions were made quickly through email.  An example of failed online collaboration is when the team members have difficulty communicating what they mean to say.  In addition, at times it is better to communicate with someone synchronously, such as on the phone, Skype, or in person, because it is easier to quickly summarize what you are trying to say to the other person as opposed to typing a lengthy explanation in an email.  Another barrier of miscommunication online is differing languages and cultures.

The only experiences I have had with communicating with online learners that were not a part of a F2F class were asynchronous, meaning that we did not communicate in real time.  We simply read each other’s commentary, then left our own commentary.  I think this approach is effective to learn from others; however, it does not offer  the ability to have deep discussions.  In a real time conversation a person can ask questions and follow-up questions which shapes the discussion.  An asynchronous discussion makes it difficult to shape the direction or flow of the conversation.

Other limiting factors I have discovered in both situations are:

synchronous:  You don’t have enough time to think about what you are going to say.  You are unable to access other resources to support your dialogue.

asynchronous:  It is often boring and seems like a chore.  Responses are not well thought-out and  completed hastily in order to fulfill the requirement.

This article also outlines advantages of online collaborative learning that I have not considered here.    Mentoring, scaffolded learning, and cognitive apprenticeship can all be successfully initiated through online collaboration.  Online collaboration gives the apprentice time to reflect on what he or she wishes to gain from the mentor.  Likewise, the mentor can offer advice on their own time and even collect and send relevant material digitally.  Communicating online might even allow both parties to ask and answer questions more effectively as opposed to face-to-face communication.

As I read these articles, it always crossed my mind that a particular technology could not be used exclusively.  It is extremely important to make decisions about when a technology is and is not appropriate for a given context.  There are limitations to both synchronous and asynchronous learning.  Thus, at this time blended learning seems to be the best approach.  There are times when synchronous collaborative communications are necessary while at other times asynchronous technology is more beneficial, efficient, and appreciated.

The last article I am going to refer to is Using interactive videoconferencing technology for global awareness.  I think this project offers a good opportunity for students to interact with other cultures.  Sometimes reading the textbook or watching television programs gives  only one impression of the culture as a whole.  Communicating with people can make a significant impact on individual’s perceptions and views of others.Another advantage to video-conferencing is presence.  When everyone in the room is able to hear the speaker at the same time, it is almost as good as having them in the room.

It will be exciting to see the research on online collaborative learning in the future.  Can global virtual teams be innovative?  Can they communicate and work more efficiently than F2F teams?

Adobe Premiere Elements Cool Trick #11:


German Words:

das Wetter  weather

das Grad degree

das Sonnenlicht  sunlight

der Regen rain

die Wolke cloud

der Schnee  snow

der Wind wind

schon  fine

der Sturm storm

tropisch  tropical

der Regenbogen rainbow

bewolkt  overcast

die Wettervorhersage  weather forecast

der Donner  thunder

der Blitz  lightning

der Frost  frost

der Schneesturm  blizzard

der Hagel  hail

der Nieselregen  drizzle

Tschuss!  bye!

source:  Babbel app

Week 10 YouTube, TeacherTube, and the Future of Shared Online Video

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

March 19, 2012  YouTube, TeacherTube, and the Future of Shared Online Video

Articles I Read:

Peter B. Kaughman and Jen Mohan (2009, June). Video Use and Higher Education: Options for the Future. http://library.nyu.edu/about/Video_Use_in_Higher_Education.pdf

Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Mary Madden (2009, July). The Audience for Online Video- Sharing Sites Shoots Up. Pew Internet and American Life Project. http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2009/


Mary Madden (2009, July 25). Online Video. Pew Internet & American Life Project. Pew Internet & American Life Project. http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2007/


Pew Internet & American Life Project

Kristen Purcell (2010, June 3). The State of Online Video. Pew Internet & American Life Project. Pew Internet & American Life Project. http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2010/PIP-The-State-of-Online-Video.pdf

Kathleen Moore (2011, July 26). 71 Percent Report Using Video Sharing Sites

Pew Internet and American Life Project, http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Video-sharing-sites/Report.aspx and http://pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2011


Stephen Downes (2008). “Places to Go: YouTube,” Innovate: Journal of Online Education, http://innovateonline.info/pdf/vol4_issue5/Places_to_Go-__YouTube.pdf

Craig Howard and Rodney Myers (2011). Creating-annotated discussions: An asynchronous alternative, International Journal of Designs for Learning, 1(1). Available:


Alexandra Juhasz blog posts and video book:“I Proclaim the Stuff on YouTube to be Leprous,” Media Praxis (February 29, 2008), http://aljean.wordpress.com/2008/02/29/i-proclaim-the-stuff-of-


“Teaching on YouTube,” OpenCulture (April 22, 2008), http://www.oculture.com/2008/04/teaching_on_youtube.html

Marc Parry (2011, Feb 20). Free ‘Video Book’ From MIT Press Challenges Limits of Scholarship, Chronicle of HE, http://chronicle.com/article/


Learning from YouTube (a video book), by Alexandra Juhasz (2011), MIT Press, http://vectors.usc.edu/projects/learningfromyoutube/

Bonk, C. J. (2011). YouTube anchors and enders: The use of shared online video content as a macrocontext for learning. Asia-Pacific Collaborative Education Journal, 7(1). Available: http://www.acecjournal.org/2009/Journal_Data/Vol7No1/201103.pdf and http://www.acecjournal.org/

source:  http://www.brainlesstales.com/2011-01-27/i-phone-you-tube

I read all of the given articles this week.  I am interested in using video in the elementary classroom because it is engaging for young children.  I learned very quickly that their attention span was short and they liked to be entertained.  Thus, I only showed brief interesting clips.  Back in those days (six years ago) I used VCR tapes and DVD discs.  YouTube was only a year old when I started teaching.  Until I took Dr. Bonk’s classes, I felt similar to how Alexandra Juhasz felt about YouTube.  I didn’t trust the sources and I thought it was used mostly for amateur’s home videos.  After reading these articles, I have a better appreciation for the work that goes into YouTube.

I love the fact that YouTube is free but it still makes me nervous.  I don’t like the idea of unsavory people posting inappropriate content.  I don’t like to run across it myself and I certainly don’t like the fact that children can too.  I know there are filters for that, but they are a pain!

I also wonder how the YouTube videos get around copyright laws and privacy concerns.  It seems like it would be impossible to police it.

I guess the privacy concern is an issue because I just read in the news about the college kid who set up a camera in his dorm room to catch his gay roommate in the act.  It’s in the news all the time.  Just last week, a couple of Bloomington High School North boys were fighting on Facebook.  Then they were fighting near the parking lot of the school and the other kids were videotaping it.  One boy went to the hospital for injuries.  Sad.

I was hoping that by taking these IST courses, I would be getting ahead of the game in the use of technology in the education setting.  Yet, when I read about this generation of tech savvy students I feel myself slipping behind again.  Sigh.

I value the guest speakers we have in the class because they reinforce what we read and reflect on each week.  Having Craig Howard speak to us last Saturday was a treat.  I hope that the other instructors and professors come to realize that the forums are not engaging too.  I’m sure there are other avenues outside of Oncourse that are better.  I enjoy discussing online with the other students but when the conversations and topics are forced, they are not fun and are more like a chore.  I wonder if the students in Craig’s class responded more because of the high expectations or the novelty of using YouTube.  I wonder if they liked the new method compared to the forums.

I think that Alexandra Juhasz’s results of her YouTube course are valuable to the social aspects of online learning.  I also think that the requirement of posting videos allowed the students to use higher order thinking skills and creativity.  Her insights, the six oppositions, are a nice contribution to comparing online and traditional classrooms.

Dr. Bonk’s anchors and enders article inspired me to use this idea with exit slips.  The teacher could show a video clip in the beginning for engagement. Then the teacher could show another video clip at the end.  The students could reflect on what they watched and learned about by completing an exit slip.

New “revolutionary” technologies sometimes seem to be a reinvention of past technologies.  I’m not sure that YouTube clips are going to make that much of a difference.  They will promote creating and sharing and they are more convenient and easy to use.  But really they are no different from TV in the classroom.

I think what will be more exciting is students creating their own videos and teaching each other.  That will be a revolution!

For more information about this week, see my summary posted in the forums in Oncourse.

Adobe Premiere Elements Cool Trick #10:

Time Warp

German Words:  

gutaussehend-  good-looking

gross-  tall

klein- short

lockig- curly

glatt- straight

schon- beautiful

hasslich- ugly

gesund- healthy

duschen- take a shower

sauber- clean

source:  Babbel app

Week 9 Wikis, Wikipedia, Wikibooks, and Collaborative Writing

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

March 5, 2012   Wikis, Wikipedia, Wikibooks, and Collaborative Writing

Articles I Read:

Pfeil, U., Zaphiris, P., & Ang, C. S. (2006). Cultural differences in collaborative authoring of Wikipedia. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(1), article 5. Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue1/pfeil.html    

Lin, M.-F., Sajjapanroj, S., & Bonk, C. J. (2011, October-December). Wikibooks and Wikibookians: Loosely-coupled community or the future of the textbook industry? IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, 4(4). Available: http://www.computer.org/portal/web/tlt

Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg (2010, March). How Today’s College Students Use Wikipedia for Course-related Research, First Monday, Volume 15, Number 3 – 1.  http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2830/2476

Wikibook from Dwight Allen class (Old Dominion University) on Social and Cultural Foundations of Education: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Social_and_Cultural_Foundations_


source:  http://rainbows.typepad.com/blog/2011/04/index.html

The articles I read for this class never cease to amaze me.  My first reaction to reading articles about wikis was, “yawn, what is there to know about wikis?  I already know how Wikipedia works, so what am I missing?”  The first article I read was about the cultural differences found in the authors of Wikipedia.  I could hardly “put the article down,”  hmm…can I still say that if I’m reading it on a laptop?  I think a new expression needs to be created.   Let me know when you think of it.  Anyway,  I was engrossed in the article because the researchers found that not all cultures have the same beliefs and ideas about how to write collaboratively.  I enjoy learning about other cultures because it is refreshing to know that there is more to this world then just America.  (Don’t tell the government I said that 🙂 )  Too often the media shares only a “single story” and that’s all I know.

I especially enjoyed Hofstede’s research on cultures such as the Power Distance Index, Individualism Index, Masculinity Index,  and the Uncertainty Avoidance Index. It would be cool to create an infographic of what the research has uncovered.

I think it would have been interesting if the Wikipedia research gathered these individuals together and interviewed them in a focus group.  I’d love to know how they would react to what this research discovered.  I’d also love to know how they felt about the differences.  Would they have strong opinions thinking their way was correct and right?  Would they accept the differences as another way to approach writing wikis?  Cultural perceptions really change how we view our world and it alters our reality.

The “Wikibookian” article revealed that not all wiki writers are academics.  I thought about how wikis could be used in the K12 setting.  I remembered the “Young Authors” program from elementary school.  Wikibooks could certainly change the way students write books in this program.  In this sense, they would have a clear purpose and motivation to write because they could collaborate with others.  They would have an audience.  They would use technology.  They could continue to improve upon what they have already written.

I  am a little surprised that the wiki writers have no qualms with ownership.  If they put  a lot of effort into a wiki, I would expect that they would at least want to claim it as their own.

I have never heard of these words until now, “Wikifarm, Wikispecies, Wikiquote, Wikinews, Wikiversity, Wiktionary, Wikisource, Commons, and Meta-Wiki.”  Interesting.

The other day someone called me “Wiki-Kim.”  I wasn’t sure if I should be flattered or not 😉  I guess it’s better than being called a “Bookworm.”

Can it really be true that Wikipedia is the fourth influential brand impacting lives of professionals and students ranking below Google, Apple, and YouTube?  Wow.

When I read this I wondered if Wikipedia has made an impact on me.  By golly, it has!  I do subconsciously consider it more credible than websites or blogs that I might find in a Google search.  When I read the article, “Today’s College Students..” I related with the results completely.  If I want to get a quick understanding of something, I use Wikipedia.  Whether it appears as the first search result or not, I am most likely to skim the search engine results for the Wikipedia page.  I like Wikipedia because the content is easy to understand, the content is organized in a easy-to-read, consistent and organized manner and it is convenient.  I would not want to cite Wikipedia in important work; nonetheless, I would use it for informal assignments such as forum posts and initial research.  For my purposes, the information on the Wikipedia page is an extension of the search engine and provides me with enough information to then dig deeper in journal articles and scholarly books.

It was difficult, but after I removed the cobwebs from my brain, I remembered what I did before Wikipedia.  I remember way back in the 1990’s when I was an undergrad, I had a favorite blue college edition encyclopedia.  I relied on it to explain the gist of topics that I didn’t know much about or to refresh my memory.  The only problem was, if I didn’t get a clear picture, then I had to either resort to the dusty green encyclopedias my parents bought centuries ago from a door-to-door salesman, I had to make a trip to the library (which never seemed to be open during the hours that I studied), or worse yet, I could do nothing at all.  Now I realize how important Wikipedia is to me.  I will never take it for granted again 🙂

I learned that Wikipedia documents each revision.  I wondered about that.  It wouldn’t make sense for a writer’s work to be completely erased by the next writer.  I’m curious about how often hackers go into these sites and wreak havoc. I would assume Wikipedia has good security though.  On the one hand, I can’t imagine that a hacker would go to that much trouble but then again they might think they were pretty funny to go in and write inaccurate information for a laugh.  I wonder what criteria or standards are available for wiki writing.  What sources do the writers generally use?  Is there a requirement for the type of sources that are allowed?  Or anything goes?

I had to look again at the date of when Wikipedia was started.  January 15, 2001.  That wasn’t that long ago.  I still can’t believe how much progress we have made with technology.  I wonder what exactly has driven the increase of technology over the last couple of decades?  I imagine there is an article out there about that.

I am not really surprised that the wiki community is willing to write for free.  If the writers are educated academics, then it is in their nature to want to write and share their knowledge with others.  They feel a sense of accomplishment.  Because of this, they don’t mind doing it for free because they have no expectation of something in return.   In effect, wikis give them opportunities to master their craft.

The last article I read, “What is the Allen/Cosby Theory of Change?” is not telling me anything I haven’t thought of already.  Obviously, we need national commitment for our education system.  Of course, half-hearted efforts are not going to strengthen or unify our educational community.  What I did find interesting was the notion of “rekindling the American drive and commitment” as was done in the 1960’s.  What was that like?  Were the leaders inspirational?  Were the people driven as a result of fear of the race against other countries?  Did Americans believe in themselves?  Were Americans reacting for personal gain or for patriotism?  Were educators and students supposed to feel this inspiration with the current race, “Race to the Top” and from the “The World is Flat” book?  Why isn’t this working?  Are we lacking something we had in the 1960’s?  Or is education stagnant because the community has been down this road before?  It would be interesting to talk with someone who has lived throughout these decades.  Again, I realize that I am drawn to the history.  I think the history of technology, education, teaching methods, etc. is important to me because I want to know what has already been done and figure out how to improve upon it.  What hasn’t been done?

I agree with many other points made in this article.  I agree that teachers probably do stick with “safe” methods.  If they do not have a supportive environment for experimentation then it would be risky to drastically try new things.

I made 2 connections to the statement about “experimental schools.”  The first connection relates to Dr. Tony Bennett’s presentation I saw last semester.  He spoke fondly of charter schools.  During the Q&A session, one of the audience members asked him what he thought about the charter schools that are failing.  Another audience member asked him what his thoughts were about experimenting with our children’s education.  He said the past initiatives have failed in public schools so he is willing to support any charter school that is innovative and increases student  achievement.

The other connection I made was the thought of having experimental schools.  I wonder why there is such a disconnect between researchers in universities and practicing teachers?  I think university faculty should bridge their research between preservice and inservice teachers.  If money is an issue then restructure it.  If researchers/universities could “adopt” or focus on particular schools,  conduct research,offer support, and make a commitment, then I think we would all learn a lot from each other.  Mistakes would not be repeated if instruction was based on research.

Maybe this new social and collaborative society will steer us in the right direction.

Adobe Premiere Elements Cool Trick #9:

Dream Sequence

German Words:

die Liebe auf den ersten Blick  love at first sight

verknallt sein  have a crush

die Freundschaft  friendship

gemeinsam  in common

herumhangen hang out

der Schulfreund  schoolfriend (boy)

die Schulfreundin schoolfriend (girl)

einladen invite

der Kumpel mate

der gemeinsame Freund mutual friend

der Freundeskreis circle of friends

der Fremde stranger

source:  Babbel app

Here is a video spoken in German.  The only word I understood was, “gute,” but it sure was funny 🙂


Week 8 Connectivism, Social Media, and Participatory Learning

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

February 27, 2012  Connectivism, Social Media, and Participatory Learning

Articles I read:

Nicholas Carr (2008, July/August). Is Google Making Us Stupid? Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google

Brown, J. S., & Adler, R. P. (2008, January/February). Minds on fire: Open education, the long tail, and learning 2.0. EDUCAUSE Review, 43(1), 16-32. Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Review/


Mimi Ito (2010, June). Opening Plenary at the New Media Consortium 2010 in Anaheim, CA. Learning with Social Media: The Positive Potential of Peer Pressure and Messing Around Online; Gardner Campbell reflective blog on keynote: http://www.gardnercampbell.net/blog1/?p=1258; Video of keynote: http://archive.nmc.org/2010-summer-conference/keynotes

John Seely Brown (2010, June). Closing Keynote at the New Media Consortium 2010 in Anaheim, CA. A Culture of Learning. Gardner Campbell’s reflective blog post: http://www.gardnercampbell.net/blog1/?p=1278; Video of keynote: http://archive.nmc.org/2010-summer-conference/keynotes

Brown, J. S. (2006, December 1). Relearning learning—Applying the long tail to learning. Presentation at MIT iCampus, Video available from MITWorld: http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/419/

Gail Casey and Terry Evans, Deakin University, Australia (2011, November). Designing for learning: Online social networks as a classroom environment. International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL), 12(7). http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1011/2021 (see also entire special issue on Emergent Learning, Connections, Designs for Learning: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/issue/view/49)

UNESCO (2011, March). Social media for learning by means of ICT, IITE Policy Brief. http://iite.unesco.org/pics/publications/en/files/3214685.pdf

source:  http://mashable.com/2010/06/11/social-media-dating-comic/

This week’s theme, social learning, may be my favorite so far.  I want to learn more about the gains students make while working together.  Traditional education requires students to work in solitude and receive feedback from just one teacher.  Social learning allows students to work together and give each other feedback.  Immediate feedback is incredibly important and if students don’t get it in a timely manner then I think this is one reason why misunderstandings occur.  Students can discuss their understanding of new concepts and teach each other.

When I was a first grade teacher, many of the students liked to tattle on the students who were “cheating.”  When I talked to the “cheater” he/she felt guilty and I felt bad for them.  I wanted the students to work together and share the answers.  I wanted them to be excited about learning and about being smart.  I allowed them to work together for some work but I knew that they may not get this freedom in the next class so they did not work together very often.  I had to tell 6 year olds not to help each other.  If I saw them “cheating,” I would quickly look away and hope that no one would notice.  I was glad that they wanted to find the answer and do well on the test!  Sometimes I would even give them hints.  For example, if they forgot the special sound for the spelling test I would say, “You might look on the chalkboard if you forget the sound.” The students would say, “You’re cheating!”  But I don’t think I was.  I wanted them to locate the sound on the chalkboard and make the connection.  I did not want to punish them for forgetting the answer.

I like John Dewey’s concept, “productive inquiry,” the process of seeking the knowledge when it is needed in order to carry out a particular situated task.  It makes sense for learners to get hands on experience while they are learning a new skill.  It may not always be possible for learners to learn in the field; however, efforts should be made so that they can when possible.

This image explains the importance of professional learning communities (PLC).  In my old school, some of the teachers were annoyed that we were required to get together weekly to share and discuss, but I loved it because it allowed me to ask questions and share what I was doing in my classroom.

I don’t really like the idea of K12 schools using social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter in class.  I think similar, educational sites should be created and used instead.  Maybe they are already exist?  I have heard of variations of YouTube for educational uses so I wouldn’t be surprised if social media for children is out there.  I don’t think it is a good idea for teachers and students to communicate using social media tools outside of school either.  It seems inappropriate.

The article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?,” is the one article I cannot get off my mind.  The writer claims that he is no longer able to absorb dense reading materials.  He now skims nearly everything he reads.  He blames this on Google.

This article is similar to the other articles that said our brains are getting rewired from surfing the Internet.  I don’t believe that the Internet or Google or anything else is causing people to have ADD tendencies.  I admit that I am obsessed with technology and I might even get the shakes if you took my phone and laptop away for a day but I don’t think my brain is rewired. I still enjoy reading good books (although grad school doesn’t afford me the time to read books for pleasure).  I still experience “flow” when I read and I don’t get distracted by Facebook or email.

I also don’t find anything wrong with skimming webpages.  When I read the newspaper (pre-Internet), I skimmed it.  I didn’t need to read each and every article.  When I went to the library and checked out a bag full of books, sometimes I skimmed the books.  If they weren’t interesting, I did not want to waste my time reading them cover-to-cover.  If they were interesting, I read every single word.

The Google argument seems like the same argument that occurs every time a new technology comes out:  It’s going to rot your brain!  TV didn’t turn me into a couch potato or rot my brain.  Actually, I rarely watch TV.  I would much rather read than watch TV.  (But then again I’m a nerd 😉 )  Maybe MTV ruined the rest of my generation.  If you don’t believe it, check my Facebook page.

This also makes me think about how the Web 2.0 has changed how students write.  Is using a word processor and spell check going to make them stupid?  Is it necessary for them to know how to spell if they continue to use computers and word processors?  Does it matter that they aren’t learning how to write in cursive anymore?  Will texting affect their spelling skillz?  Wut do u think?

It was a bit unsettling to read the part about how the clock has changed the way people eat, sleep and work.  I’ve never thought about technology making such an impact on how we function.  I wonder how we would behave differently if we didn’t consider hours, days, months and years.  Hey, I wouldn’t have to worry about getting old!

I believe that having information at our fingertips will improve our efficiency; I cannot imagine that Google is going to…ooh something shiny…what was I saying?

Therefore, I agree with Fredrick Winslow Taylor.  He dreamed of “creating a utopia of perfect efficiency” using his theory of systems. I agree with him  probably because I am a perfectionist and I am always looking for the right answer and the right way to do things.  OMG, I just realized that this is probably the reason I was drawn to IST…systematic way of doing things…whoa.

l love Google’s mission to  “understand exactly what you mean and give you back exactly what you want.” Thank you, it is about time.  I don’t mind that they are reading my email and then posting advertisements that are relevant to what I said in the email.  It was a bit strange at first but I like that they want to please me.  I have the sense and self-control not to react to every ad that I see.  Thank you Google, for considering my needs, even if you do seem like “Big Brother.”  Just don’t start posting advertisements for perfectionist anonymous support groups because I like the way I am 😉

It’s too bad I wasn’t born sooner because I think I would have enjoyed 2001:  A Space Odyssey.  It was made in 1968.  I watched the trailer.  It looks like a good movie but a little too outdated.  Maybe they will remake it someday.  As I said before, I can’t wait until Siri’s artificial intelligence improves.  Right now she laughs at my requests most of the time.  I hope she is nothing like HAL is in the movie.  Scary.

The last social media issue I read about was on “social hacking.”  The people that don’t filter what they say online are the same people that don’t filter what they say in public.  So really there shouldn’t be concern for this.  The people with common sense know that what they say is going to be forever documented and impossible to take back.  My rule of thumb is, “whatever I write could be read by my mother.”

Adobe Premiere Elements Cool Trick #8:


English Words that are German Words:

wanderlust– strong longing for or impulse towards

nachtmusik– serenade

gestalt– a structure, configuration, or pattern of physical, biological, or psychological phenomena so integrated as to constitute a functional unit with properties not derivable by summation of its parts

autobahn–  a German, Swiss, or Austrian expressway

schloss– castle

lederhosen– leather shorts often with suspenders

echt– true, genuine

tschuss!  goodbye!

source: http://www.myspellit.com/lang_german.html

Week 7 Open Educational Resources (OER) and OpenCourseWare (OCW)

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

February 20, 2012  Open Educational Resources (OER) and OpenCourseWare (OCW)

Articles I read:

Nancy L. Maron, K. Kirby Smith, and Matthew Loy (2009, July). Sustaining Digital Resources: An On-the-Ground View of Projects Today. JISC, UK. http://www.ithaka.org/ithaka-s-r/strategy/ithaka-case-studies-in-sustainability/report/SCA_Ithaka_SustainingDigitalResources_Report.pdf

Downes, Stephen (2007). Models for sustainable open educational resources. Interdisciplinary Journal of Knowledge and Learning Objects. 3, Retrieved on June 25, 2010,, from http://ijklo.org/Volume3/IJKLOv3p029-044Downes.pdf

Lee, M., Lin, M.-F., & Bonk, C. J. (2007, November). OOPS, turning MIT OpenCourseWare into Chinese: An analysis of a community of practice of global translators. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 8(3). Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/463/980 (HTML) http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/463/982 (PDF)

Rita Kop and Hélène Fournier, National Research Council of Canada, John Sui Fai Mak, Australia (2011, November). A pedagogy of abundance or a pedagogy to support human beings? Participant support on massive open online courses. International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL), 12(7). http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1041/2025 (see also entire special issue on Emergent Learning, Connections, Designs for Learning: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/issue/view/49)

                                                                                                                                                       From:  Wikiversity

The four articles that I read this week were all similar in that they defined open educational resources (OER) and OpenCourseWare (OCW) and explored the possibilities as well as the challenges they present.  I must admit that I did not know much on the topic prior to reading the articles.  I tend to be skeptical about anything that seems too good to be true.   Many of the questions raised in the articles were on my mind too.  After reading the articles, I conclude that OER creators have some short-term answers for the challenges, and they have discovered essential qualities for sustaining OER.

Qualities for Sustainable Open Educational Resources

  •  leadership
  •  incentives
  • social opportunities

I believe these qualities are important for any kind of community.  The community needs a respected leader that can steer the members in the right direction, incentives for contributors that add value to the community, and social outlets for community members to share and discuss their thoughts and opinions.

Funding Models for Sustaining Open Education Resources

That’s a lot of free money!

  •   Endowment- charitable organizations
  •   Membership- coalition of organizations contribute
  •  Donations- received by the wider community
  • Conversion- convert free consumer to paying consumer
  • Contributor-Pay- content contributors pay
  • Sponsorship- sponsor pays in exchange for advertisement space
  • Institutional- institution pays
  • Governmental-  government pays
  • Partnerships and Exchanges- partners exchange content

Sharing Content

I have been curious about this topic ever since Napster and other sharing sites became known in the late nineties.  I can remember my younger brothers showing me their zillions of audio files they downloaded for free through shared folders.  I can also remember how people would make copies of audiotapes and VHS tapes and use devices to pirate TV signals.  Nothing has changed really.  If there is a barrier that prevents people from getting something they want and can’t afford, they will find a way to get it, even if it is illegal. So maybe content should be free.

On the one hand, it seems like a great idea to just give everything away for free.  Everyone deserves a good education.

On the other hand, there is no such thing as a “free lunch” and someone has to invest his or her time and money.   The quality of the free content will be based on the amount of motivation, determination, interest and persistence the contributors have.  These issues create more questions than answers .

Questions that remain unanswered for me are:

 OER Contributors

  • How do you sustain the interest and dedication of your volunteers/contributors?
  • How do you maintain accuracy and quality?

OER Content

  • What is the quality?
  • How accurate is the content?  How do we know?
  • What happens when great projects run out of money and cannot find funding?  Do they just disappear?

Without any kind of credibility, I am afraid that I would question the accuracy of any free content.

Universities offering Free Courses

  • What are MIT’s motives behind offering free courses?
  • Why aren’t other universities offering free courses?
  • Do people have hidden agendas when creating OERs?
  • Is this movement going to change the way content creators are compensated for their work?
  • What is going  to happen with copyright laws?  Does the general public even care about copyright laws or know the consequences?


I enjoyed reading the OOPs article because it seems to reinforce the notion that people prefer to learn in a social environment.  It reinforces the ideas that people want to be heard, want to contribute to a greater good, and want to connect with others (even if they are on the other side of the world).

I am captivated by Luc and his vision because he has a tall order to fill and a large crowd to please. I love what he said to his members, “All readers are proofreaders. For us, there will never be a finalized version. Everything is forever up for discussion, and modification.”  It is powerful because it makes it clear that anyone is welcome to contribute.  His message indicates his high expectations for the quality of the content.  Most importantly, his message encourages the members to be humble and help each other improve.

Key Principles for Community of Practice

  • sharing goals
  • trust and respect
  • shared history
  • identity
  • shared spaces for idea negotiation
  • influence
  • autonomy
  • team collaboration
  • personal fulfillment and events embedded in real world practices
  • rewards, acknowledgements and fulfilling a personal need
  • What is Connectivism?

  • Connectivism recognizes the centrality to learning of idea generation supported by social activity and enabled by personal networks, interactivity, and engagement in experiential tasks. As such, Connectivism is particularly attuned to the principles of the Web 2.0 era. (Siemens, 2005).  I don’t know much about Connectivism; however, I am intrigued because the more I learn about the Web 2.0, the more I realize that socialization, collaboration, and cooperation are necessary and important for meaningful learning.
  • I really like the format of a Connectivist course:1)  access to content2)  record content3)  create own content

    4)  share content

    This reminds me of Dr. Bonk’s R2D2 model, Read, Reflect, Display, Do.  As learners, we cannot merely see and hear the content, we need to do something with it.  And then we need talk about it.  In essence, we need to redefine the content so that it makes sense to us.  If it makes sense to us, then we should be able to explain it to others.

Even Albert Einstein Liked to Share

“If I give you a penny, you will be one penny richer and I’ll be one penny poorer. But if I give you an idea, you will have a new idea, but I shall still have it, too.” Albert Einstein

I like this quote.  I love the idea of sharing.  When I first started teaching, I felt limited to sharing resources with the teachers in my building or my teacher friends from college.   It is so different now because thanks to the Web 2.0, we can not only share our resources anytime with friends and colleagues but also with people we may never meet.

Adobe Premiere Elements Cool Trick #7:

Old Film

German Words:

eine Seife  soap

eine Sonnenbrille  sunglasses

Taschentucher tissues

eine Burste brush













Ok, so the months are obvious 😉

Montag  Monday

Dienstag  Tuesday

Mittwoch  Wednesday

Donnerstag  Thursday

Freitag  Friday

Samstag  Saturday

Sonntag  Sunday

Tschuss!  bye!

Week 6 Extreme, Nontraditional, and Adventure Learning

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

February 13, 2012  Extreme, Nontraditional, and Adventure Learning

Adventure Learning

I am currently working on an evaluation project for R561 for a PBL school in Columbus, Indiana.  Now that I have learned about Adventure learning (AL) and Project-Based Learning (PBL), I realize that they have similarities.  They both use authentic experiences in the community.  An advantage to AL is that the online environment allows the students to work with experts all over the world.  Likewise, an advantage to PBL is the students can work directly with members of the community.  Both AL and PBL receive support from not only the teachers, but also experts in the field.

Another important aspect of AL and PBL is that they concentrate on 21st century skills.  Examples include critical thinking and problem solving, communication and collaboration, creativity and innovation, information literacy skills, flexibilities and adaptability skills, social skills, productivity and accountability skills, leadership and responsibility skills.

Research has proven that AL and PBL works.  Students are more successful when they apply knowledge to real-world problems, and when they take part in projects that require sustained engagement and collaboration.  Active and collaborative learning practices have a more significant impact on student performance than any other variable, including student background and prior achievement.  Students are most successful when they are taught how to learn as well as what to learn (Trilling, B., Fadel, C., & Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2009). 21st century skills: Learning for life in our times. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass).

I am interested in learning more about these disruptive innovations and at the same time, observe them in action.

Extreme Learning

I enjoyed reading about extreme learning because I made connections to what Peter Smith said on Wednesday during the webinar and also to the book, Disrupting Class written by Clayton Christenson, that I read last spring in Dr. Bonk’s R546 class.

In the article Learning from the Extremes, schools in developing countries are analyzed in order to give insight to the rest of the world.  The article mentions the Hole-in-the-Wall project.  In the past I watched the Ted Talk about this project which was given by Sugata Mitra http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRb7_ffl2D0.  I was amazed by what the children were capable of and willing to do on their own.

The next intriguing point in the article is about alternative forms of school.  Charter schools and alternative pedagogies such as Montessori and a liberal arts focus are suggested.   Last semester I attended a talk given by Dr. Tony Bennett, the state superintendent of public instruction for Indiana.  He supports charter schools or any school that will experiment and try new things in order to raise student achievement.  A person in the audience asked if it was a good idea that we “experiment” with our students without knowing the outcome.  He was quick to answer that anything has to be better than what we are doing now.  I tend to agree that we should try new approaches.  Offering students choices such as technology, arts, or science enriched curriculum is motivating and allows the students to contribute their strengths and interests.

Non-Traditional Learning

I found the article,  No Such Thing as Failure, Only Feedback: Designing Innovative Opportunities for E-assessment and Technology-mediated Feedback, useful for the project I am working on in R541.  My team is designing a web-based training module for how to implement UDL principles using the “flipped classroom” approach.  Thus, the research and tips on incorporating feedback in instruction through technology will be extremely beneficial.

I was eager to read the article,  The use of social networking sites for foreign language learning: An autoethnographic study of Livemocha, for two reasons:  1) I first heard about it in Dr. Bonk’s book, The World is Open, and 2) I have tried it before.  Since I have used it before (to learn German) I understood the experience the author had with the program.  I like the features that the program provides; however, the features seem disconnected.  I believe that the best way to learn a second language is immersion.  Livemocha attempts to do that (the free version) with the technology but also uses boring grammar exercises to teach the language.  A suggestion I would make is to provide vocabulary and simple sentences for the non-native speaker to study.  Next, arrange a chatroom session or even better a video session using a webcam with a native speaker.  Instruct them to “have a conversation” using the vocabulary provided.  This way the native speaker can offer immediate feedback and probably teach even more.  Also, if the individuals interacted using a webcam, then the native speaker could coach the non-native speaker and demonstrate proper pronunciation.  This aspect is what books and online tutorials fail to teach which is essential if you intend to actually speak the language.  Of course, the non-native speaker would need a good incentive to want to talk to the non-native speaker.  I imagine that the paid version of Livemocha offers something similar to what I have just suggested.  It needs to be free.

Adobe Premiere Elements Cool Trick #6:


German Words:

eine Arbeit  work

Urlaub  vacation

ein Buch book

Ich sehe dich.  I see you.

dein Buch your book

Wie heissen Sie?  What is your name?

Tchuss! Goodbye!